How to delete photos from your iPhone 4

August 12, 2010

It is easy to delete photos from your photo roll one at a time, but what if you want to delete a large number of photos, or photos that are not in your Camera Roll album, but in another album with no delete button?

There are about a zillion ways to move photos on and off of your iPhone 4. You could use iPhoto, iTunes Sync, or Image Capture, or you could purchase and use a third party application. Deleting photos can be more difficult, if you want to do more than drag them one at a time to the garbage can.. The iOS4 operating system does not allow an easy way to select and delete multiple photos from the Camera Roll, and offers no way to delete photos from other albums at all. For example, it is possible to wind up with an album named Photo Library after a sync with your phone, or after upgrading phones and there is no way to delete photos from this or similar albums.

If you are sure that your photos are backed up on your computer, it might be nice to erase all the photos on your phone to free up space. As it turns out, it is fairly easy to fool the iTunes sync process into doing just that. First, make a new folder somewhere handy on your computer. For the sake of logic, name that folder “Empty.” Then go to the “Photo” tab of the iTunes sync program, which is always visible when your phone (or Touch) is plugged into your computer.

On the photo tab, click in the check box in front of “Sync Photos from” if it is not already selected. Then open the drop down box to the right of the words “Sync Photos from.” Select the option “Choose folder” from this list and navigate to, and then select, the “Empty” folder that you just created. To make it at least semi-permanent, click on the “Apply” command button at the lower right of the screen.

Make sure that your iPhone photos are all saved on your computer! If they are not, you will not be able to get them back after this next step. Click on the “Sync” command button. ITunes will sync your phone, making a big show over photos. It may take it a while if your phone has a lot of photo albums or photos. What iTunes is actually doing is synching the photos with andempty folder, which results in deleting all your photos from the iPhone and leaving only an empty Camera Roll album.

After this process is done, reset the iTunes “Photo” sync tab to whatever settings you had there before and return to your normal method of syncing your photos, whether it is with iTunes or not. You have now freed up all of the photo space on your phone, still have the iPhone photos on your computer, and can start anew with iPhone photos. Happy snapping!

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